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Joseph House Workshop

The Workshop is a residential program for homeless men that teaches life-skills needed for employment. It opened in 2005.

The Workshop is next door to the Joseph House Crisis Center on Boundary Street in Salisbury, Maryland. The phone number is 410-749-8150.

Overview of the Program

The Joseph House Workshop promotes the transformation of formerly homeless men into responsible and employed citizens. The program is for men who are homeless and either not working or not working enough to sustain themselves (especially if these are chronic situations).

Men in this category often have other characteristics: addictions to alcohol and/or drugs; little or no ties with family members; a history of making bad choices; self-destructive behavior; a lifetime of negative self-image.

The Workshop provides shelter facilities and personal support services to help them overcome the problems associated with homelessness.

Participants in the program learn life skills to prepare them for employment and for being productive citizens. They gain self-confidence and belief in a God who loves them. Graduates of the Workshop have new hope for the future.

The Workshop itself is a one-story complex that was constructed out of an unused warehouse. The Workshop has a dormitory that sleeps ten, a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathrooms, laundry room, fitness room, small grooming room, two classrooms, computer room, A/V training room, staff bedrooms, volunteer room, and offices for the manager and staff.

The program is only for those men who are committed to making positive changes in their lives. It invites men to engage in a process that: (1) moves them from homelessness to stable living; (2) trains them to find and maintain employment; (3) empowers them to live productive lives and to reach their full potential.

The Program involves two phases. Students move from one phase to the next when they are ready. The length of time each student spends in the program will vary. They may take as little as a few months or up to two years to finish.

The topics and services covered in each phase are listed below:

PHASE 1 - Job Readiness Training

Values - Character building in areas of honesty, sense of responsibility, self discipline, spirituality, and respect for others
Employment Preparation - Interviewing techniques, teamwork, and job search skills
Addiction Recovery - Support services provided both in-house and in the community
Special Needs - Referrals to community agencies for health and other services
Relationships - Guidance in developing healthy relationships
Community Service Involvement - Participation with Habitat for Humanity and similar efforts

PHASE 2 - Employment

Support Services - Transportation to job sites and other essential services
Case Management - Assistance in pursuing individual goals
Money Management - Development of budgeting and other management skills (mandatory 80% savings of wages)
Addiction Recovery - Support services continue
Personal Support Systems - Guidance in establishing ongoing support systems for life beyond the Workshop, such as 12-Step programs and sponsors
Family Relationships - Encouragement to rebuild and strengthen family relationships

History of the Workshop

The idea for the Workshop began in 1998 when Mountaire Farms donated an empty warehouse to the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary. The building was located next door to the Joseph House Crisis Center on Boundary Street.

The Sisters decided to convert the warehouse into a residential job-training facility for the homeless men (given the space requirements of a residential facility, the Workshop could not accommodate both men and women). They wanted to break the cycle of homelessness by helping homeless men find and keep stable employment.

A team of advisors developed a program that would help homeless men learn life skills in a positive and supportive environment. At the same time, the property was renovated to create suitable living and classroom space.

The first residents entered the Workshop in September, 2005. In April, 2007, the first resident to successfully complete the program graduated from the Workshop.

Developing the Joseph House Workshop was a fruitful collaboration between the Little Sisters and members of the community at large, particularly Mountaire Farms. These relationships continue to help the Workshop succeed in its mission.

A Day in the Life at the Workshop

During Phase 1 of the program, the resident's day starts at 6:30 in the morning. They have an hour to get themselves ready for the day. Phase 1 last for 8-12 weeks.

Their first session begins at 7:30 in the morning. Group sharing based on Scripture helps the men focus on building stronger relationships with God. The sessions open and close with prayer.

By 8:30 a.m. the residents begin their life-skills classes. A wide range of classes are presented throughout the program. They cover subjects such as rebuilding healthy relationships, how to be a responsible citizen, goal implementation, decision making skills, addiction and recovery, conflict resolution, spirituality, renewal of self, developing positive emotions, rebuilding confidence, cooking, positive self esteem, expressing feelings, anger management, coping with fear, money management, banking terms, job readiness, and completing applications. The staff and volunteer experts in these fields conduct the classes.

The classes continue until 3:30 p.m.. That is when the men start preparing dinner. The men in Phase 2 of the program who are employed return to the Workshop in time for the evening meal. The residents always eat dinner together. This helps to build healthy relationships. It is a very important part of the day. The men share what has gone wrong and what has gone right. They usually laugh and enjoy the peaceful fellowship.

All of the residents attend 12-step recovery meetings every day. In Phase 1, the men attend a mid-day meeting, and they accompany the Phase 2 men to an evening meeting after cleaning up from dinner. After returning to the Workshop they have a little bit of down time before lights out.

During Phase 2, the residents who have children can have them visit the Workshop on Sundays. Phase 2 residents can also go out on their own during the day to visit friends and family or just have some free time.

It is a special blessing that some of the men who have passed through the Joseph House Workshop stay in touch. Two former residents are now members of the staff. Still others come back occasionally and have dinner with the current residents. The men visiting talk about where they are working and how they are doing and laugh over the hard times they had in their early days. They are a great example to the men in the house and are welcomed back whenever they have time to stop in.


The Joseph House Workshop.


Mr. David Pogge of Mountaire Farms transferred the deed of the Workshop property to Sr. Mary Elizabeth and the Joseph House in 2001.


The Workshop can accommodate up to ten residents at a time.


Phase 1 of the program is classroom-oriented. Phase 2 provides employment support.


Recreational activities, such as gardening, are an important part of the program.


Two residents underneath the rule of the Workshop.


The Workshop provides space for recreation and community living.


Everyone helps out with household chores.


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411 N. Poplar Hill Avenue
Salisbury, Maryland 21801